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Bryan Price narrows Cincinnati Reds rotation race as spring training begins

The Cincinnati Reds reported for spring training Tuesday, and manager Bryan Price brought some clarity to the most important situation facing the team between now and Opening Day. 

That, of course, is who will be his starting pitchers. 

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Price had said during the offseason he saw 80 percent of his rotation being set — Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan — with a large group of prospects to vie for the fifth spot

Tuesday he amended that when meeting with reporters in Goodyear, Ariz. 

Per MLB.com, Finnegan is not a sure thing, though it sounds like he is ahead of the other contenders when it comes to joining Bailey, Castillo and DeSclafani. 

"I plug in Finnegan as a guy I'm very confident will make our rotation. But, I've made this clear, this is not a spring training for anyone, Brandon included, to be thinking they just have to get their arm in shape and be ready to be in our starting rotation," Price said. "This is a competitive group. Lack of competitiveness would not bode well for anybody that wants to be in the starting rotation.” 

Price also broke down the rest of the group contending for a spot into tiers. 

Robert Stephenson and Sal Romano will get the most opportunities to make it.

They both finished last season strong after struggling early in the season. Romano was a revelation last spring while Stephenson is a former No. 1 pick. 

Tyler Mahle and Michael Lorenzen will also get looks, though not as long as those two. Lorenzen has been a key member of the bullpen the last two seasons while Mahle made the jump from Double-A and looked good before reaching his innings limit and being shut down late in the season. 

Beyond them, Jackson Stephens and Amir Garrett are next in line but are apparentl long shots. 

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Also new Tuesday: Cody Reed’s chance to make the major-league roster will be as a reliever. 

Finnegan, Garrett and Reed are lefties. 

The first on-field workouts of the spring are scheduled for Wednesday. 

The first game is Feb. 23 against the Cleveland Indians. 

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